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Workplace Horror Stories and How to Fix Them

Halloween is the season to be scared – but the workplace can be scary all year round. Sometimes those tales of horror are things you can laugh about later, others can be more disturbing and leave lasting memories for the rest of our working lives.

Learning and development is all about helping people work in a place that’s heavenly rather than hellish. Here is our list of workplace horrors and tips on how to fix them:

The lost idea

You have contributed a brilliant idea in a report, at a meeting or brainstorming session, but instead of being asked to elaborate or even just be recognised for your contribution, it fades like a spectre into obscurity, quickly buried under someone else’s “better” idea. Disheartened by the experience, it can quickly affect your confidence and willingness to participate going forwards.

Rather than fear the worst, consider the fact one of the main reasons why ideas can get lost is simply because people weren’t listening properly. Take a tip from good joke tellers! They signal that the joke is worth listening to before they tell it…”I’ve got a great one for you…” or  “I heard the funniest thing today…”  Make sure you flag your idea to gain attention instead of throwing it away. Try working on your powers of persuasion. Successful influencers are able to inspire others to follow a particular course of action while maintaining rapport and goodwill. Instead of simply telling people your idea, show them why it is good and why it would work.

The time vampire

You come in early in order to clear your mailbox and read the latest reports ahead of tomorrow’s sales meeting but unfortunately you’ve been spotted by Saskia and she wants to give you the lowdown on her weekend…

Sometimes it’s not just socialising that can sidetrack you. Co-workers can also develop a nasty habit of involving you in work-related matters that are entirely separate from your own roles and responsibilities.

Want to avoid being sucked in? Then try making it difficult for them to involve you in their daily routines. Remove all empty chairs that are near your desk to reduce the chance of them settling down – adding at least another 10 minutes to your day!

Have a timer running on your desk or desktop so that when you need to gently move your co-worker on, you can point to it and explain how you really need to get something done in the next 20 minutes. Tactics like this remove the personality from the problem and avoid conflict.

The meeting trap

Yawnnnn! When will Ash stop talking? Hasn’t Ali repeated that idea five times already? Meetings can be horrible, especially those weekly ones when the same irksome characters take over and run riot!

A first principle of good meeting management is running to time, but many often run over. If it’s your boss who’s running the worst meetings, don’t be afraid to speak up by offering constructive ways to change the format. Often meetings over run because those who could control the meeting have switched off, so help them re-engage in the conversation, so you appear positive about the meeting. Help the chair out by making suggestions like “Why don’t we quickly list the pros and cons and then vote?”. You might be pleasantly surprised by the reaction.

The undecider

Your discussions with ‘Witches’ Brew Magic Potions’ are reaching the final stages. Winning this contract would get your name noticed on the top floor. The planning has been meticulous – but the client won’t make a decision and keeps asking for more information.

Understanding the secrets of negotiation are vital to your career progression, but many people confuse negotiation with conflict. Successful negotiation is about remembering to keep your cool, do your preparation and be ready to make compromises in pursuit of your ultimate goals. Often, with undecisive clients, you need to find ways to reduce the risk – “try one and then you can decide whether to buy more” – is a good way forward with those suffering from analysis paralysis.

Of course, there is a serious side to our Halloween horrors – and that is one of taking decisive action to exorcise them. Some of the worst workplace woes can be cast out with the help of the many other tops and techniques contained within our short, targeted personal effectiveness training.

Have we missed one of your pet frights, why not tell us below?

Photo Credit | rescueram3 on Pixabay

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